Friday, March 30, 2012

Fort Bliss Soldier Guilty of Murdering Fellow GI

FORT BLISS -- A remorseful and weeping Spc. Saleel Zareef Qaasim took the stand in his court-martial trial to beg for forgiveness after he was convicted of murder on Thursday.

After more than four hours of deliberation, a military panel found Qaasim guilty of shooting Spc. Alex Gabriel Jaime in the chest with a shotgun on Feb. 7, 2011, at the Three Legged Monkey, but ruled that the shooting was not premeditated.

Read the entire story here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

S.I. dad says Marine son victim of hate, just like Pvt. Danny Chen

Danny Chen and Hamson Daniels McPherson grew up separated by New York Harbor and died just months apart under mysterious circumstances while serving their country.

Chen, 19, was an Army private from the lower East Side.

McPherson, 21, was a Marine private from Staten Island.

Both their deaths were initially ruled suicides.

And both men, their families claim, were driven to the brink by racist hazing and abuse inflicted on them by comrades in arms.

Read the entire story here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Robert Bales Charged: Military Scrambles To Limit Malaria Drug Just After Afghanistan Massacre

In 2004 in the United Press International, this reporter and reporter Dan Olmsted chronicled use of the drug by six elite Army Special Forces soldiers who took mefloquine then committed suicide. (Suicide is relatively infrequent among Special Forces soldiers).

"You're ready to take that plunge into hurting someone or hurting and killing yourself, and it comes on unbelievably quickly,” said one Special Forces soldier diagnosed with permanent brain damage from Lariam. “It's just a sudden thought, it's the right thing to do. You'll get a mental picture, and it's in full color."

Also that year, the UPI report showed how mefloquine use was a factor in half of the suicides among troops in Iraq in 2003 -– and how suicides dropped by 50 percent after the Army stopped handing out the drug.

Read the entire story here.

Stepmother of Slain Female Soldier Asks Court to Show Leniency

Posted on Mar 25, 2012
Images courtesy friends of Morganne McBeth
Army paramedic Morganne McBeth died under suspicious circumstances in Iraq in 2010.
By John Lasker

Spc. Nicholas Bailey, the second and final suspect charged in the 2010 stabbing death of Army paramedic Morganne McBeth, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter March 9 and later that day was sentenced to nine months in military prison and given a bad-conduct discharge.

Bailey, in a court-martial proceeding at Fort Bragg, N.C., admitted his guilt “as part of a plea deal,” a website of News 14 Carolina reported. He had faced a more severe charge of negligent homicide.

McBeth, a popular 19-year-old from Virginia, was in a tent on a military base in Iraq with Bailey and Spc. Tyler Cain when she was stabbed near the heart.
Read the entire story here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lawmaker tells military officials to end culture of hazing

WASHINGTON — Military officials testified Thursday that hazing is not and will not be tolerated by the services, but lawmakers questioned whether recent high-profile incidents of abuse indicate deteriorating leadership in overtaxed, war-weary units.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., whose nephew committed suicide last April after being hazed by members of his Marine Corps unit, pleaded for an end to the culture of hazing.

“Although the military has policies in place, they’re not being enforced,” she said during a hearing held by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel. “While people on the outside are horrified by these stories, usually the rank and file say that hazing is a necessary tool … to ensure everyone’s safety.”

Read the entire story here.

Lawmakers Blast Culture of Military Hazing
Marines Update Hazing Policy

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Military Matters Podcast: Polypharmacy with Dr. Fred Baughman

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Are our military members being given psychiatric drug cocktails to treat PTSD and TBIs?  Neurologist, Dr. Fred Baughman discusses this topic in this week's podcast.

Marine Veteran Writes on “The Fog of Drugs.’

From Anonymous

Dr. Baughman, I read the piece that you wrote about SSgt Bales (attached) and it prompted me to seek you out for further information. I am a program manager at __________ Community Services ___________, I manage a __________housing program for homeless veterans, many of which are prescribed these psychiatric drug cocktails. This issue strikes close to home for many reasons but mainly because I have seen first hand the negative impact these cocktails have on our veterans. It seems to put them in a fog rendering them to act or exist in a manner where they are unaware of the negative effects (slurring of speech, drowsy look, slow processing etc) that the cocktails are having on them.
We at _________-are making efforts toward spreading education and awareness of the negative effects as well as the alternative treatments that are available for veterans to assist them in dealing with the many afflictions they face. We see too many veterans go by the wayside due to being stuck in this ‘fog of drugs’. They are dependent and on the rare occasion admittedly addicted to the painkillers and pych-drugs feeling lost or hopeless without them.
We are also seeking alternatives for the treatment of PTSD and many other mental health diagnosis through such things as: pet therapy, music, art, recreation etc…to supplement the traditional treatments of talk therapy, drugs, EMDR etc.
We hope to either start the movement or join a movement which encourages and fosters alternatives to the very thing of which you wrote about---the Military Pharmaceutical Complex.
I am sure you are a busy man however I’d like to request a meeting with you to discuss a strategy about how best to go about this. We are well connected within the __________ Veteran’s community and would love to if nothing else put this topic on the table for discussion with our community leaders and advisors. Ideally, we would love to have you come and speak to our veterans but any help you would be willing to give is welcome and needed.
I hope to hear from you soon.
USMC Veteran

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Army threatens to fire crime lab whistleblower who talked to reporter

WASHINGTON — The military's embattled crime lab is trying to fire an outspoken whistleblower who's spotlighted its problems.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory warned its firearms branch chief, Donald Mikko, in a memo of its plans to fire him, in part for talking to a McClatchy reporter.

As part of an internal investigation, Mikko was interrogated for about four hours and questioned about his contacts with McClatchy, according to his attorney Peter Lown. The Army Criminal Investigation Command, which oversees the lab, launched the inquiry after McClatchy published a story late last year about the lab losing evidence.

Read the entire story here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Death Memorial

Sgt. Patrick Rust was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division headquartered at Fort Drum, New York. He picked up a rifle and defended our way of life against the terrorists who want to destroy it. He was our soldier, his mom and dad’s son, our friend and neighbor, central New York’s very own defender. He survived deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, only to die mysteriously right here in his own country, not far from where he was born.

Patrick went missing from a bar – ironically named Clueless – in Watertown, New York on March 16, 2007. Six months later his remains were found in a farmer’s field over seven miles from the bar and the apartment he was staying at in Watertown. It is unknown how he got to that location. He didn’t have a car and it’s doubtful he’d have walked there on a cold March night. He wasn’t robbed and his remains showed no trauma. His cause and manner of death remain undetermined.

So what happened to Patrick Rust, our soldier, our son, our friend and neighbor? Did you see him that night? Do you know where he went after leaving the Clueless and who with? Do you know how he got to that farmer’s field? Do you know somebody who does know?

Please central New Yorkers, help us find out what happened to Patrick. He went to battle for us. Now we need to explain to his family how he died. They deserve answers. Don’t we owe them that much?
Bill Sullivan, Forensic Consulting Specialties

Denny Griffin, Investigator

If you have any information about this case, contact Judy Rust through this website.

Gold Star Families All, Regardless of Where a Soldier Fell


My son, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Gary Marc Farwell, flew Black Hawk helicopters through four combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Then on February 3, 2010, he and two other soldiers died when their helicopter crashed near Mannheim, Germany. After an extensive investigation, the Army could not determine the cause of the crash.

Read the rest of the story here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Army Releases February Suicide Information

The Army released suicide data today for the month of February. During February, among active-duty soldiers, there were 11 potential suicides: three have been confirmed as suicides and eight remain under investigation. For January, the Army reported 16 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, 11 have been confirmed as suicides and five remain under investigation. For calendar year (CY) 2012, there have been 27 potential active-duty suicides: 14 have been confirmed as suicides and 13 remain under investigation. Updated active-duty suicide numbers for CY 2011: 166 (157 have been confirmed as suicides and nine remain under investigation).

During February, among Reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were three potential suicides (three Army National Guard and no Army Reserve): none have been confirmed as suicide and three remain under investigation. For January, among that same group, the Army reported six potential suicides (five Army National Guard and one Army Reserve). Since the release of that report, four have been confirmed as suicides and two remain under investigation. For CY 2012, there have been nine potential not on active duty suicides (eight Army National Guard and one Army Reserve): four have been confirmed as suicides and five remain under investigation. Updated not on active duty suicide numbers for CY 2011: 116 (80 Army National Guard and 36 Army Reserve); 113 have been confirmed as suicides and three remain under investigation.

Source:  DOD Announcement

Monday, March 12, 2012

Military Matters Podcast: Interview With Elizabeth OuYang

Link to OCA-NY, where you can sign the petition to have the 32 Hearing moved from Afghanistan to the United States so that Danny Chen's family may attend.

Fort Bragg soldier enters guilty plea in 2010 stabbing death in Iraq

Sylvia McBeth pleaded for mercy for her daughter's killer, but a military judge still sentenced him to prison and ended his Army career.

Spc. Nicholas Bailey, 24, was sentenced Friday for the accidental killing of Spc. Morganne McBeth in Iraq in 2010. He was demoted to private, given a bad conduct discharge and sentenced to nine months of confinement.

Read the entire story here.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Army Suicides Up 80 Percent Since Iraq War Start

The number of suicides in the U.S. Army rose by 80 percent after the United States launched the war on Iraq, American military doctors reported on Thursday.

From 1977 to 2003, the tally of Army suicides had trended slightly downwards, and was far below civilian rates.

But it started to curve upwards in 2004, the year after the U.S.-led invasion, according to their analysis, published in the British journal Injury Prevention.

In 2008, 140 Army personnel committed suicide, a figure 80 percent higher than in 2004 when measured in "person-years," a benchmark used by health experts, and much higher than in civilian society, it found.

Read the entire story here.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Navy report says gross negligence led to death of Essex sailor

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A breakdown of safety procedures, protocol violations and gross negligence led to the death of a sailor aboard the USS Essex in November, according to a Navy report released last week.

Petty Officer 1st Class Regan Young, a 37-year-old personnel specialist, was killed Nov. 23, while the ship was off the coast of Bali, Indonesia, after he was struck by a mounted missile launcher. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the body, Navy officials said at the time.

Read the entire story here.

Courts-martial recommended for 4 more in Pvt. Danny Chen’s death but involuntary manslaughter counts are dropped

Courts-martial have been recommended for four more soldiers accused of hounding Manhattan Pvt. Danny Chen to his death, but they won’t be tried for involuntary manslaughter.

Instead, the foursome faces still serious but lesser charges that could result in prison sentences upon conviction, the military said.

Chen’s immigrant parents, who live on the Lower East Side, were expected to address the latest development in the tragic case later Tuesday.

In January, family friends cried coverup after Army investigators dropped the charge of involuntary manslaughter against one of the alleged ringleaders, Spc. Ryan Offutt.

Staff Sgt. Andrew VanBockel, Sgt. Jeffrey Hurst, Sgt. Adam Holcomb and Spc. Thomas Curtis will be prosecuted for charges including dereliction of duty, maltreatment, negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, assault, communicating a threat and violation of a general regulation, the military said Tuesday.

Read the entire story here.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Soldier suicides, disputes spur probe of Fort Bragg WTU

Fort Bragg’s 18th Airborne Corps commander Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick has called for an investigation of the post’s Warrior Transition Battalion following a number of suicides and domestic violence cases, according to the Army Times.

This investigation comes after six suicides and 25 domestic disputes were reported at the North Carolina base over a five-week span, the Times reported, and an emotional Feb. 15 meeting between a dozen wounded soldiers, spouses and others. Those who attended the meeting complained of alleged overmedication and lack of care of soldiers in the transition battalion, the Army Times reported.

Read the entire story here.

Original story in Army Times:  Suicides, disputes spur probe of Bragg WTU

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Mother Of Slain Soldier Kills Adopted Granddaughter, Herself

CONWAY, Ark. (January 9, 2012)--An Arkansas woman who adopted her granddaughter after her son was killed in Iraq stabbed the 7-year-old girl and then set fire to their home in what authorities described as a murder-suicide.

Janice Robbins and her granddaughter Abby, who was stabbed once in the chest, both died in the fire Saturday, either of smoke inhalation or from thermal injuries, a coroner said.
Click here to find out more!
Faulkner County, Ark., sheriff's spokesman Maj. Andy Shock said Janice Robbins left a suicide note in her pickup truck in which she said she didn’t want to leave the girl behind.

Staff Sgt. William T. Robbins, 31, of North Little Rock, Ark., died Feb. 10, 2005 in Taji, Iraq, of non-combat related injuries.

He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 39th Infantry Brigade, based in Little Rock.
Janice Robbins adoption of her granddaughter was finalized in 2010, authorities said.

Authorities said they found no indications Janice Robbins had financial problems.

They’re trying to determine she had sought counseling for depression.

Read the entire story here.

Dover Air Base mortuary supervisor resigns

 A mortuary supervisor at the heart of the Dover Air Force Base scandals has resigned, sparing the Pentagon from a decision on whether to fire him for allegedly lying to investigators, mutilating a corpse and retaliating against whistleblowers.

 Read the entire story here.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Fort Bragg soldier agrees to plead guilty in fellow soldier's 2010 stabbing death in Iraq

A Fort Bragg soldier has agreed to plead guilty to charges related to the death of Spc. Morganne McBeth in Iraq in 2010.

Spc. Nicholas Bailey is expected to plead guilty March 9 to involuntary manslaughter, according to the 82nd Airborne Division.

Read the entire story here.